The HMV group news was a lot worse than expected and has sent the shares tumbling. FT Alphaville have all the numbers and the likely implications. 60+ stores to be axed represents about 10% of their UK HMV and Waterstones branches.
That's necessary as rents/wages vs income is a major factor in deciding the entire groups chances of survival.
Its a real shame. BQ had them pegged for real woes in the crunch , right after Blacks, JJB and Woolworths in likelihood of collapse.
In fact the demise of Woolies, Zavvi and Borders gave extra custom to HMV and helped them to survive 2008/9. Then, in my humble opinion, the HMV stores revamped their layouts, offerings and emphasis in a very positive way.
Student wear is probably the way best to describe their limited clothing offer, but its a good mark up product that fits their image. T/shirts and tops with rock bands, off the wall images and slogans. The proposal to produce their own brand clothing is a sound one too. The move to on-line music and integrated social networking, the revamped loyalty card, the cinema tie-ins and in-store concerts are all good, solid ideas that really showed a company with an inherent structural core product decline facing up to the download and supermarket age.
The refocusing and prioritising on their weak video games sales also paid off and 2009 was a good year. 18% up. But shares have slumped 80% since April 09..
So its a shame it hasn't lasted. Its hard to see what more they could do from an operations perspective. The shops are well maintained, stocked, adequately staffed and have plenty of offers. But now its over to finance. Rents and rates and wages. Splitting the book chains from the entertainment?..maybe merging the two formats like the Borders stores did? .. There may still be hope. They saw off OUR PRICE after all.